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LGBTQ Support

Affirming and inclusive services for LGBTQ seniors

WestMass ElderCare’s LGBTQ support offers the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQ) community and our allies opportunities to meet one another and grow in our identities.

INTRODUCING THE RAINBOW SOCIAL CLUB!

Virtual and In-Person Gatherings

We’re excited to announce that we are refreshing our name due to the changing times and nature of our world — and to reflect what our group and community are looking like and doing! We are now the Rainbow SOCIAL Club! We look forward to continuing to connect with each of you either virtually or in-person as we share stories, come together for fun, welcome guest speakers, get creative, and much more!

 

To support, uplift, and empower our LGBTQ+ community, WestMass ElderCare has continued to provide opportunities for connection each month. With virtual gatherings on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month from 5-6pm where interested community members can join us using their phone, computer, tablet, or another device — participants enjoy one another’s company in a safe setting featuring guest speakers, trivia, film screenings, discussions, music, and other offerings throughout the month.

As vaccinations are now readily available and our community is beginning to open up again, the Rainbow Supper Club has also resumed in-person meetings on the 1st Wednesday of each month at the Holyoke Council on Aging. Times are subject to change. We hope to continue these in-person gatherings going forward.

SERVICES AND PROGRAMS

ADVOCACY OPPORTUNITIES

WestMass ElderCare works alongside other affirming LGBTQ community resources to ensure civil rights for LGBTQ older adults.

We provide referrals to legal services and provide support for individuals seeking justice based on discrimination and/or harassment due to their sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or expression. 

Know you are not alone. We’re here to help! 

SOCIAL EVENTS

Social connection is a cornerstone of our community. Working closely with local organizations and community groups, we participate in a variety of events throughout the year.

Some of the things we’ve done include: film screenings, educational panels, dances, marching at local Pride celebrations, intergenerational discussions, and more!

To find out more about our LGBTQ Support, please call our Information and Referral Department:

413.538.9020 or 800.462.2301

You can also email rainbowsupperclub@wmeldercare.org.

Why are LGBTQ support programs important?

Offering programs that address the needs and interests of LGBTQ older people is one concrete step we can take to create welcoming, safe and LGBTQ-affirming spaces, where all LGBTQ older adults can be their authentic selves, just like their peers.

In multiple studies, it has been found that LGBTQ older people widely fear accessing services, with transgender elders especially concerned because of high rates of being denied services or receiving inferior services. 

In addition, the added stress of dealing with decades of discrimination means that LGBTQ older people are at a greater risk of physical and mental illnesses, and other issues, such as depression, disability, chronic illnesses, poverty, social isolation, poor nutrition and premature mortality.*

By having programs that explicitly recognize and celebrate LGBTQ individuals, as well as understand and meet their needs, we can ensure that we are providing equitable care for all.   

* From SAGE | LGBT Aging Project

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Additional Resources 

The LGBT Aging Project
A program of Fenway Health ensuring LGBT seniors have equal access to life-prolonging services, programs, and protections. https://fenwayhealth.org/the-fenway-institute/lgbt-aging-project/

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SAGE (Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders)
National LGBTQ elder services and advocacy organization.
Has hotline, mentorship program, and much more. 

https://www.sageusa.org/ 
Hotline: 1-877-360-LGBT

blue square with white text in the inside larger letters read SAGE then below are smaller words that read services and advocacy for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender elders

National Resource Center for LGBTQ Aging
A technical assistance resource center providing support to the LGBTQ elder community.
https://www.lgbtagingcenter.org/

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LifePath | Rainbow Elders
Sibling program in Franklin County for LGBTQIA+ elders.
Part of LifePath senior services organizations.
https://lifepathma.org/rainbowelders

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Rainbow Seniors of Berkshire County
Sibling program in Berkshire County for LGBTQ seniors.
https://rainbowseniors.org/

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